Successful businesses typically see 80 percent of their business come from 20 percent of their customers. This is a huge indicator of who you should be spending your time wooing! Sure, new customers are great, but if you can build customer loyalty, the ones you already have won't go anywhere and will most likely bring you all the new customers you can handle.
There are several ways businesses can make their customers feel valued; communication is number one. Learn the names of regular customers or at least recognize their faces; build a rapport with the people that are sustaining your business. Think of the companies you deal with"do you get greeting cards in the mail? Reminders? Monthly flyers or newsletters? Special discounts and promotions? How did receiving those things make you feel? Someone went to the trouble to make that impression on you, so take the cue and do it for your own customer base. Customers remember being treated well. Also, pay attention to how they shop and learn sensory preferences for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information. Listen for key words and use these cues to establish rapport. If a customer indicates a visual preference, show them visual information; if an auditory preference, let them hear information; if a kinesthetic preference, give them opportunity to feel the product or service.
The second most important aspect is meeting your customers' needs. Always go the extra mile. Know what they purchase, how often, and keep that product in stock. If you come across another product or service that your customer will appreciate, mention it to him or her and see if it piques their interest. Let them know you can begin carrying it if it is something they would like to regularly purchase. Never over-promise and under-deliver"if you say something will be in on Friday make sure it is there on Friday. If something goes wrong, be sure to let your customers know immediately. Always be available to speak to; customers prefer settling issues with a live person.
If you have employees, be sure they mirror your actions and intentions. Your customers should be just as important to them as they are to you. Treat your employees well so that trickles down to your valued customers"a happy employee makes a happy customer. School your employees on your products or services so they fully understand what you are offering and can confidently answer any customer question.